To most LA residents, the humidity of late summer in New York isn't exactly attractive, however for 22-year-old Harry Hudson tiny obstacles, such as the weather, don't even phase him. The young man radiates vitality and gratitude. We meet in the Mercer Hotel in SoHo, you know, the one where JAY Z and Kanye West took over the entire third floor to set up shop and record their collab album, Watch The Throne. I order a rosé, set up my laptop and wait for Hudson to arrive. He walks in, greets me with a warm smile and a big hug. He also orders a rosé and a side order of french fries. At this point, he explains, why he suggested SoHo's Mercer Hotel, and it's primarily for the people, be it the total strangers or the rather recognizable, that him and his buddies have found themselves engaged in conversation with. That energy and the rosé, obviously.
Harry Hudson is a singer, part of Jaden Smith's MSFTrep, close friends with Kendall and Kylie Jenner (and squad), and a cancer survivor but as he points out, primarily, a human. At 19, after investing time, energy and dedication to music, and getting some meetings with potentially instrumental people to his career, Hudson was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Today, he is nearly two entire years cancer-free. After 7 months of chemo, he beat it.
A few weeks ago, HYPETRAK premiered Hudson's debut video for the track,"It Is What It Is." People took notice. Having him, not a publicist, reach out regarding the premiere, directly to me, made it a no brainer when the opportunity arose for us to sit down for an interview.
How and when did you get involved with music?
Hey everybody. Hm, let's see. Literally, when I was in eighth grade, me and all my friends thought we were rappers. So I had a group of like five friends and, pretty much, one of my friends could afford a MacBook, so we were like, "Oh my God, you got the studio," basically. So, he had the MacBook and we went to go buy GarageBand. It was like, when that rock thing came out, so they had a microphone with GarageBand and we plugged the microphone into the computer. We would use GarageBand and illegally downloaded beats and we would rap over them. Then one day, one of my friends was like, "Yo, you could actually rap. What if you did this for like a thing?" I was like, "Nah, never," and then I started getting into it and we were literally in his bathroom. So imagine like five guys, in a bathroom, taking turns to stand in a bathtub, trying to get the acoustics and like the reverb down. That's literally what we were trying to do all the time. We thought, "Yea, we're rappers now." We would hold the MacBook to our hands and rap to it. Since then, everyone's like, "Harry, you should actually make music." I thought, "Maybe I should, so I started writing it and taking it more seriously and that's where is all began. Yea, pretty much.
So, in eighth grade what was your favorite beat to rap over?
Oh my gosh. Anything that was DMX or Eminem. Literally. Any beat from them, I'm on it. I'm going in.
I might have to request the audios for those.
(Laughs) I was an angry little kid back then. Anything with DMX or Eminem, that's me. Those are my idols.
You're based in LA but you've been in New York for about two months. What are you doing with all of your time?
Literally, nothing. (Laughs) Basically, I was in LA and I was really down on myself and had no inspiration to write my next project. My friend got an opportunity to come to New York. He booked a TV show. He asked me if I wanted to join him, so I just came with him. I needed to find new inspiration. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and be uncomfortable and start writing music again, figure out what my next project should be about. I've been out here just finding inspiration, recording records, writing records, and just enjoying everything. I'm learning how to take the subway, pretty much what I've been doing. Going to museums, ya know.
Summer in New York is the best.
I heard summer in New York was the best so I had to come experience.
Just make sure you avoid February.
I'm coming. (Laughs)
You're nearly two years cancer-free. You started to share your day to day treatments and what was going on in your life very candidly on your social media outlets. What prompted you to do this?
My publicist at the time was like "Hey do you want to keep this a secret and just be low key? And you'll make music again when you're done." I was like, I'm just going to do the complete opposite because there are a lot of kids who are sick. Whether two people see it or one person saw it, that's all I cared about. I decided to just post me and my chemos because people think Cancer is such a scary word and people are nervous and very uncomfortable with the situation. If I put light on the situation, I thought people would be more receptive to it. So, I took it social media and it turned out pretty great I think. I have thousands of emails to prove it. I set out to inspire one person and I did that.
To see someone in your shoes, at that age, going through it gave so many kids that go through gave someone to look to and not just be with their families and with their friends but see other individuals out there doing the same.
The craziest experience from doing that was when a twelve year old kid came up to me in mall and said he beat brain cancer because of me. He was like "I follow you on Instagram. You're so inspiring. You helped me beat brain cancer and I thought if you can do it, I can do it too." Now I mentor him. I look out for him. He's still going through it. He's 14 now. That moment was so surreal for me. His cancer came back but at the time he like "I beat it because of you," and that shit was just wild.
I think that in itself was rewarding enough for you to have shared it. With you wanting to be very open with it, did you find your creative process changed through your treatments?
Yes, very much so. At first, I was really thinking about it because they were like "Yo, you might die. We don't know if you're going to make it." That kind of thing. For me it was really a step back, like do I really love making music? Is this my passion? Do I really love it as much as I say I do? I kind of stepped back and realized how much I do love it. It sparked a new creative ability for me to get in a zone I've never been in before and write about things I've never experienced before. It was a more inspirational feeling because now I'm in a position no one has really been in. I can do something I love and help people out in this position. Now I understand a lot more things. That's where all the creative inspiration came from when I was sick. It definitely sparked a match and showed me I can do a lot more than I thought I could.
Awesome. I was going to ask, but obviously your outlook on music in general changed.
Everything definitely changed. I actually stopped listening to music when I got sick. I realized how shitty everyone elses music was and thats just the truth. Ok, not shitty but like I grew up listening to Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash and Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson as an entertainer. Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash as songwriters. They would talk about real life. History repeats itself always. They would talk about whats going on and thats why they are relevant right now. They always spoke about whats true to them and true to the world. A lot of music I was listening was about the same things and I feel like people were just doing it for the wrong reasons. My idea of music kind of slowed down because I wanted to talk about something that hadn't be done. As an artist you want always do the brand new thing. You want to talk about something that hasn't been talked about. You want to use a melody that hasn't been used. So I feel like when I got sick, it was more of like don't listen to anyone else, don't get inspired by anyone else just get inspired by the experiences you're having right now.
So, you beat cancer. What was the very first thing you did when the doctor let you know?
Wow. I gave the doctor a hug, for sure. Then I had a meeting with one of the American Cancer Society to join one their charities because I wanted to be a speaker. They wanted me to go and speak at these colleges for them. The day I found out I just, I felt like it wasn't real. When I found out I was cancer-free I just wanted to join every charity I could. They wouldn't take you unless you were cancer-free because you couldn't be a spokesperson until you were cancer-free. You cant speak to kids that are sick when you're sick because they won't have hope. They said contact us when you're done so I called and was like "I'm done!" They were like come see us right now, so I went to their office and we had this cool campaign. That was an awesome day. I remember I went to this place called D'Amatos with a lot of my friends and it was this Benihana type of place where you cook it yourself or they cook it in front of you. Yea, that was a great day.
In the past six months, you put out two EPs, The Treatment (Side A) and GeminiEyes.
Oh. Two EPs. Wild. Yea.
They each have considerably different vibes, in my opinion. Can you speak to the inspiration or where you were at for each of these?
ok. The Treatment (A Side). I had twelve chemo treatments. I wrote the first six [tracks] in treatment. Those first six are The Treatment (A Side), I had a couple other songs that are going to be on B side eventually. I've just been working on it right now to make it perfect. The Treatment came from me going through chemo and my cancer experience. The lyrics are very... you have to listen to the words. They are very deep and emotional but I did it in a way where people could be think of it three or two different ways.The Gemini project I did with my best friends. He goes by Gnash. Me and him were in LA and we made a song together. I remember the first day I met him we just clicked. The next day he's like "Com eover, lets just hang out." I came over. We made that song "Knock, Knock" in like 20 minutes. And we were like oh my God, like dude, we got to do an EP. We'll just do four songs together. And that just came about and he's my best friend. We're Geminis. Both of us. We're always happy and sad. When I happy, he's sad and when I'm sad, he's happy. It's just the balance of us being Geminis, typical. We're like let's just make and happy and sad project. So two songs are very happy, "Knock, Knock" and "Love." Then "Sleeping In The Sea" and, see I don't even know the other one. "Drive." "Sleeping In The Sea" and "Drive" are very depressing. "Sleeping In The Sea" is talking about suicide and "Drive" talks about, yea, you guys can listen to them. Thats where the whole happy/sad album came about.
Jaden Smith is a part of your squad, your team. We spoke about him earlier. One of your very close friends He supported your HYPETRAK premiere for the video "It Is What It Is."
And you shared info for MSFTS Republic, all on Twitter, within a few days of each other. What does MSFTS mean to you? We saw the video. Jaden is very passionate about it, so tell us what it means to you.
MSFTs is more of just like whatever you want to do to help the world. Its a conscious group. Anybody is a MSFT who feels like they dont belong but feels like want to help and do good for the world. We label it as a team. MSFT. There's no "i" in it because theres no "i" in team. It's M S F T. Its a group of kids who just want to do good, conscious kids, let's include that word, that just want to do good. Thats pretty much where it ocmes from. We just released the website, MSFTrep.com and you can just check it out and read more about what a MSFT is. We just dropped the article. It's a group of kids who believe in each other and just want to do good.
Are you two planning on collaborating on anything for either of your own projects?
Do you want to talk about it further?
Um. Pretty much, we have songs together. But it's pretty much what feels right at the time. We're very much in the moment. Jaden doesn't write any of his things. I try not to write because of him. He'll literally be in the studio and he freestyles. Any song you've heard from Jaden is a freestyle from him being in the studio, one take. A lot of people won't understand that. It's kind of a freakish thing because you're just like "what is even going on?" So, we have a lot of songs, it's just a matter of time and when they will be completed. And then they'll be put out. We are just very focused on a lot of other things. We have each others' backs and we definitely support each other and thats the most important thing.
If you weren't a singer today, what would you be doing?
What I'm doing exactly at this moment. Sitting on a couch. (Laughs) No! If I wasn't a singer today, I feel like I'm not a singer at all. I feel like I'm just human. I'd probably somewhere in Africa helping people.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Wow. I see myself in Iceland, with a compound that me and all my friends bought property on. We all built our own homes. We all have our own studios and art centers. We're just there creating music and creating art and helping the world. That's literally where I see myself, Iceland or Greenland, no Iceland, go with what my heart said. I'll be there, just creating music and...
Surrounded by your friends.
Surrounded by my best friends with all of our dream homes, doing what we love and helping people. There's definitely a lot of things I want to do. I want to create homeless shelters. I want to create hospitals. I want to design homes in third world countries. Pretty much in five years that's where I would be at, helping people and just saving the world.